ECONOMY

Survey finds Internet use expanded only slightly last year

Internet usage in Greece has expanded only slightly during the past year, according to a recently published survey. The survey, by GfK Market Analysis, shows that, in July 2004, 28 percent of people aged 18 and above used the Internet, up from 26 percent in July 2003. In urban areas, 34.8 percent of respondents did, compared to 34.5 percent a year ago. The number of people using the Internet is not the same as the number of people who have access to it. For example, 37.6 percent of city dwellers said in July they had access to the Internet, up from 35 percent a year ago. Men are more likely to use the Internet; 37 percent do, while, unsurprisingly, the usage rate is highest among the youngest group, the 18-24-year-olds (49 percent) and those with higher education (52 percent). Of those actually using the Internet: 67 percent have access at home; 41 percent have access at work; while 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively, use university computers or Internet cafes. A small group, 3 percent, surfs occasionally using friends’ or relatives’ computers. About nine in 10 users (89 percent) said they visit the Internet to collect information, including the latest news. Entertainment is in second place (44 percent), and, surprisingly, ranks highest not among the youngest but among those aged 30-34 (64 percent). Thirty-six percent use it for electronic mail or other kinds of messaging, while only 4 percent do so for professional reasons. One in six users (16 percent) download files, while the number of users engaging in e-commerce has doubled in July compared to a survey done in March (18 percent vs 9 percent). The survey does not explain whether this is a seasonal phenomenon, that is, whether people were looking to book holidays in July. About one in 10 survey respondents (9 percent) said they intended to establish an Internet connection at home within the next year. The intention is highest among the 18-24 and 25-29 age groups (21 and 18 percent respectively) and those with a university or high school education (17 percent and 10 percent respectively). It appears that the reason for this relative stagnation in Internet usage has two interconnected reasons. First, the feeling that a period of slower economic growth and the indebtedness of many households make respondents more reluctant to spend money on Internet connections. Second, many people are waiting for the fees charged by Internet service providers to drop, and, judging by the latest move by OTEnet, which introduced its Conn-X high-speed Internet connection package last week, they are set to drop steeply. The survey was conducted through computer-assisted telephone interviewing from July 15-21. The sample was 1,250 individuals aged 18-64 and the margin of error was 2.8 percent.